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The Wands Story:
A Writer’s Success

(Deck used is the Herbal Tarot)

Chapter One (Ace)

Description: This is the usual picture of a hand in the sky holding a wand.

Story: You are hit with a sudden inspiration for a novel—it’s just a flash of scene, some thoughts about the character and setting, but it ties in with a book you’ve been reading and the possibilities are intriguing.

Comments: To me, the ace of Wands as being one thing: the idea (or thought or inspiration) alone. It’s the “Aha! what about this??!!” that may grow into something more or may be set aside for better ideas, or lack of time. It’s the germ of an idea, not even enough to be called an embryo, just the beginning idea of an idea.

I think the Ace can also mean at least two other things:
1. The same Aha! feeling you can get at any stage of a complex project when you get a new idea concerning the project.
2. The energetic feeling you get when you’re really excited about working on something.

So an Ace of Wands coming up the middle of something could mean that you’re going to get some new ideas for it, or that you should be looking for new ideas, or maybe that it’s time to reenergize yourself with enthusiasm, or that something is going to happen that will do this!

Chapter Two

Description: This shows a young man standing on a balcony. He appears dressed for travel and holds a wand in one hand and a globe in the other. The second wand is leaning against the rail.

Story: You’ve decided that you want to develop and write this novel. So you begin your research and development of background, characters and plot. At this point, you just have that little germ of an idea, so you literally hold the world of your novel in your hands—you can take it where ever you want to go with it. You may also be excited about the other possibilities inherent in writing this, your first novel. Visions of TV appearances, web-casts, fame and fortune flit through your mind. But you must be careful. Don’t spend time daydreaming about being famous—you need to work, not dream. You also need to be careful that you don’t get so involved with your research that you never start to write!

Comments: I see the two as being two things: the raw idea plus you. This is the point where you decide to develop a particular idea, to put some time and energy into it to see if it’s really worth doing and if so, how you’ll begin to do it.

So the Two means choosing (choosing if you’ll do a particular project, choosing which way you’ll take it), as well as thinking and planning and making the first steps toward turning the idea of the Ace into a reality. The Two showing up could mean that you need to stop and think before committing yourself to something, or it could mean it’s time to stop thinking about about it and commit one way or the other—in the case of this story, it’s time to start writing. (I’m assuming the position in the spread and the cards around it would make it clear which one it is. Also, you probably would know if you’ve been stuck at this stage for awhile or not.)

The two could also mean that you’re at a stage of a complex project where you need to stop and reevaluate where you’re going. In terms of the novel, if you’re writing it and you’re having trouble with a particular part, getting the two could mean that you need to rethink some of your assumptions about the character or the situation.

Chapter Three

Description: This shows a somewhat older person standing at the shore, looking toward a ship on the horizon. He or she holds one wand, the other two are behind him.

Story: You’re ready to partake on your exciting journey of writing the first draft of your novel. Pen (or keyboard) in hand, you approach the waters of creation. But you’re having trouble setting up a regular time to write. You mention this to a friend, and she offers to take care of your preschool child for a couple hours every weekday, to give you time to write. So away you go!!

Comments: The three is the idea plus you plus something else. That third thing could be someone else offering help (as in the story), or, in the case of a business, finding a partner or investor. It could also be a change in circumstances (some extra income allows you to work less and have more time to write) or a change in your attitude (you decide that you’ll give up two hours of TV watching each night and write instead.) This card can be a reminder that you need to let other people know about what you’re doing and planning and wishing. Even if they can’t actually be of direct help, they may have some good suggestions for you, or know someone else who can help. It can also mean that opportunities are there—you just have to open your mind and see

The Three also represents the idea of going forth into the world. (At the two, the youth was standing on the balcony, now he’s down at the shore.) With a project that you’re working on by yourself, such as the novel of this story, it may mean something as simple as telling your family, “I’m starting on my novel and I’m going to spend two hours a day on it and I don’t want to be interrupted” (Well, simple to tell them, but not so simple to have them listen!)
For something like starting a business, this is the stage where you actually look for partners, investors, a place to rent for your shop, etc. I’ve read that threes in general are unstable, or that they indicate flow and activity, movement. This fits here, as what you are doing at this stage is actively working toward developing your idea.

Chapter Four

Description: Two flower fairies are dancing. There are four wands standing in the background.

Story: You’ve finished the first draft! It’s time to take a short break and celebrate! But be careful, you have a long way to go yet. Don’t get giddy and over-confident.

Comments: Getting this card is a reminder that it’s important to stop and celebrate an accomplishment before going on to the next step. But it’s also important to remember that this is just a step—you can’t stop too long, but need to regroup and continue. Fours in general mean enclosure, boundaries, being self-contained. I think that perhaps that fits here in two ways: 1. the completion of this stage of whatever it is you’re doing 2. the danger of becoming enclosed by this level of success and never going beyond it.

Chapter Five

Description: Five arms and hands hold up five wands. they appear to be fighting, or at least threatening each other.

Story: You are now writing the second and third drafts. You have a lot of conflicts with yourself as you decide what to keep, what to toss, what to change and how to change it. You may discover inconsistencies that, to be resolved, mean major changes in one direction or another. And you have to decide which direction is best.

At this point, you are also having a few other people read and critique your work, so you also have conflicts of their ideas with yours.

Comments: For some reason, I’ve begun to think of the five of wands as indicating mainly internal conflicts, whatever internal means in a given case. For something you’re doing by yourself, the conflict is within yourself. For a project being undertaken by a group of people, the conflict is within the group.

It can also mean, conflict in a constructive sense and a reminder that good can come out of conflict. (business partners arguing about the best next step for the business: they both have the best interests of the enterprise in mind, and if they can listen to each other and pull out the best of both ideas, they may discover a third and better idea.) This card may also indicate a feeling of being threatened and perhaps a need to look into ourselves for inner weaknesses (or conflicts.)

Chapter Six

Description: A man with a helmet and cloak stands holding one wand. the other five are standing upright in the ground. The man looks tired; he is also standing up and still alert, as if he is ready for more work or another battle.

Story: You’ve finished the final draft! It’s printed out and ready to go to the first on your list of publishers and/or agents. You’re tired and weary but triumphant. However, you know that the battle’s not done. Now you have to sell the darn thing!

Comments: This card can indicate victory and success through hard work. I think there’s also a sense here that the work isn’t done. Interestingly, the Herbal Tarot points out that the abandoned wands may mean that your opponents have left, thinking the fight was not worth it; so that this card may be a reminder to stop and consider if what you are trying to do is worth the time and energy necessary to do it.

Chapter Seven

Description: A person stands, holding a wand at the ready. There are six wands in front of her, and it looks like she is about to fight them. She looks confident and determined.

Story: Your novel is being considered, and rejected by one publisher or agent after another. Sometimes you are told that it’s good, but they just accepted something very similar and they don’t want to publish another like it so soon.

Comments: The seven of Wands is coming to mean external conflict to me. In the case of the story, the conflict is with the various publishers and agents and also with the competing novels that got bought first. For a business it could mean competitors, government regulations and the like. If it comes up in a relationship spread, it could mean assault on the relationship from outside (i.e. families don’t approve) This card can also be a reminder that you need to stand fast—victory can’t be guaranteed, but failure is assured if you give up. There’s also a sense of partial victory here—a small success that could grow greater if you continue to work/fight.

Chapter Eight

Description: A tree in the middle with four wands flying off to each side.

Story: You’re getting closer to selling your novel!! E-mails and letters and phone calls fly back and forth as you work out the details. You may even take a trip to talk to the agent or publisher in person. But nothing is yet assured and all the communication may be for nothing.

Comments: The sense I’m getting for this card is one of lots of action and movement, especially communication, which may or may not result in anything constructive. In the context of the story, this action is the result of whatever conflict was happening with the seven. In a broader sense, it could indicate that you’re running around, reacting to a problem, rather than calmly considering the best thing to do. I think this card could mean that’s there might be a lot of communication and/or movement coming in regard to whatever the question was. It could also be a reminder not to go off in all directions without thinking, that you need to center yourself and set goals and priorities.

Chapter Nine

Description: A man sits leaning against a tree. He looks tired but alert. He holds one wand, the other eight are upright in the ground behind him.

Story: ou’ve sold your novel!!! Now you have to hope that it sells well, pays for your advance and makes more money besides. You’re tired, but happy and victorious.

Comments: I took the eight standing wands to be a barrier you’d put up to keep yourself safe after a big victory, but in the Herbal Tarot it says they stand for a formidable opposition or condition! (I suppose these two interpretations could be just different sides of the same thing.. you wouldn’t need the barriers if you didn’t still have opposition.) Anyway, this card seems to indicate a victory or success of some kind, but with the warning that you can’t let down your guard. It seems to be a bigger, more important, more final success that the one in the six (but it’s likely that this larger success would not have been possible without the earlier successes along the way.) The Herbal Tarot suggests that this may also be a time of feeling whole, balanced and grounded.

Chapter Ten

Description: A person walks holding an awkward bundle of ten wands.)

Story: Your novel is selling well! You’re busy with guest appearances and promotional tours. You’re getting tons of letters from readers. You have contracts for two more novels, but you’re finding it hard to find the time to get started on them.

Comments: Your burdens are the price of success—it’s time to consider which of them you can put down and/or hand to someone else. For a business, it may mean it’s time to take a partner, or hire an employee. In the case of this story, since you really have to do the writing and most of the guest appearances yourself, it means not overextending yourself with publicity, perhaps hiring someone to take care of the details (like answering letters) and putting as much of your energy as possible into writing the new novels.
This card can be a reminder that you’re trying to do too much and that it’s time to consider what’s really important and what can be dropped. For the important things, you need to decide what must be done by you and what can be done by others.

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Last updated Mon, Jun 12, 2006

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